Spitsbergen - Polar Bears and Arctic Adventure (Monday - Saturday)

This adventure voyage on MS Nordstjernen is the essential Spitsbergen experience. Spend two nights on land and the rest at sea sailing along the west coast of Spitsbergen on this exploration. Discover the extraordinary Arctic landscape, glaciers, fjords and scan for magnificent Arctic wildlife. If we are really lucky, we might just see the King of the Arctic himself; the mighty polar bear.

  • Chance of seeing polar bears
  • Cross 80° N and come ashore to explore the Arctic wilderness
  • Experience the Midnight Sun (until 23. August), giving you 24 hours of daylight to discover Svalbard
  • Sail with an expedition team on board the nostalgic MS Nordstjernen

The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

Departure 20 May - 09 September 2019

Departs from Longyearbyen
  • This voyage is also available in 2018. Read more here.

Spitsbergen is the crown of Arctic Norway; an island forged by wind, ocean, ice and snow. Its location creates a biological hot spot, where the frigid Arctic Ocean meets the warmer currents of the Gulf Stream.

Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

The fascinating settlements of Spitsbergen each have their own distinct atmosphere, but share a rough and tumble pioneering spirit drawn from their founding days. This adventure starts in the community often referred to as the capital of Svalbard. Here you’ll find all the amenities of a modern small town – situated in a fantastic Arctic landscape. The history of Longyearbyen is rich with a tradition of coal mining, and remnants from the early mining ventures can be seen everywhere. In the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, there will be opportunities to visit the Pomor Museum (optional) and see a lively folklore show. After this visit, we will continue out of Isfjorden and head north along Prins Karls Forland. 

Crossing 80° N

We will sail into Magdalenefjord and the North West corner to take in cultural heritage: a whaling station from the 16th century. We will make a tender boat landing here. Moffen is a high latitude islet, located above the 80th parallel and a popular home for walrus. We will try to reach this far north if wind and ice conditions allow.

Striking fjords and Ny-Ålesund

Smeerenburgfjord and Raaudfjord are large fjords in North Spitsbergen that offer a strikingly varied landscape – from small islands to large mountain chains. We might get lucky and spot a polar bear searching for seals. We will spend our day exploring the beautiful area of Lilliehöökfjord, the inner part of Kongsfjord with the magnificent glacier front of Lilliehööglacier. Kongsfjord is the largest fjord on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen. The landscape here varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers tumbling into the ocean. At the end of the fjord, you will find the majestic Kongsbreen (King’s Glacier). 

At 78º 55’ N, Ny-Ålesund is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Previously a coal mining community, Ny-Ålesund is now an advanced High Arctic research station. A number of countries run their own national research stations here, and there is a lot of activity in the summer. On our way back to Longyearbyen, we will visit the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. Marvel at the large U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers that covered the area ten thousand years ago.

The grand dame of Hurtigruten

Explore this extraordinary natural world from the classic ship MS Nordstjernen. Built for the Hurtigruten fleet in 1956, she has been extensively modernised, while maintaining her warm classic wooden interior fittings and comfortable lodgings. Because MS Nordstjernen is a small vessel, she will take us to the less accessible pearls of these beautiful coastlines, making your voyage one-of-a-kind and truly unforgettable.

During the entire adventure, our programme of shore excursions will take you close to both Arctic wildlife and cultural reminders of the early whaling era.

Day 1
Photo: Natalia Davidovich Photo
Coal Miner´s Cabins, Longyearbyen
Coal Miner´s Cabins, Longyearbyen Photo: Jarle Hagen Photo

Coal mining history and Arctic nature


Your adventure starts with an overnight stay in Longyearbyen. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. While the arctic environment is dominant, it is also a surprisingly cosmopolitan place, with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, stores and a mini-mall. Longyearbyen is often called an antidote to the stress of modern day life and is a prime destination for adventure travellers.

Reminders of the history and heritage of the island can be seen everywhere. When Coal Mine Number 1 was opened in the 1930’s, the miners survived in flimsy two-story barracks. When World War II ravaged Europe, the area of Svalbard known as Nybyen was set on fire. After the war, the miners moved back and rebuilt the barracks.

For your overnight, you may choose to stay in these barracks, which have now been completely renovated to offer our guests a high standard of comfort. The Coal Miners Cabins are situated about 2 kilometres from the town centre, a nice walk in beautiful surroundings.

Or, you may choose to stay in the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, the world’s northernmost full-service hotel, located in the heart of Longyearbyen. From your table at Restaurant Nansen you can gaze out on the panoramic view towards the majestic peak of Hiorthfjellet and enjoy an excellent Arctic menu with a good selection of wines. The hotel was completed in March 1995.

Day 2
Barentsburg Port Sea Office
Barentsburg Port Sea Office Photo: Arnau Ferrer Photo

Discover two very different settlements

Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

After breakfast, you are invited to a guided sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen that includes visits to the Svalbard Museum and Gallery Svalbard. This fantastic museum is really worth a visit, as it will provide you with a great deal of background information on all that you will come experience on your expedition.

Then its time to embark on the adventure and MS Nordstjernen. We sail south in Isfjorden until we reach the Russian settlement Barentsburg. This “company coal mining town” has been Russian since 1932, and is still home to about 500 people. Here you can explore the exotic collection of old Russian artefacts and architecture, join a folklore show or soak up the real Russian atmosphere in the local pub.

Day 3
Photo: Karsten Bidstrup Photo

Chances of seeing polar bears

Magdalenefjord, North West corner, Moffen and 80°North

Locally known as the North West Corner, this area, rich with islands, fjords and beaches, has a long history of exploration. In Magdalenefjord, you’ll discover cultural heritage: a whaling station from the 16th century, including a graveyard of whalers who died during the first “oil gold rush”. We arrive in the morning, and will make our first landing to come ashore and explore this wonderful Arctic wilderness. In this beautiful fjord, we might see polar bears, minke whales and bearded seals.

Day 4
Photo: Nina Helland Photo
Landing near Kongsfjorden
Landing near Kongsfjorden Photo: Knut Dreiås Photo

Fjords, Glaciers and Research

Krossfjord, Kongsfjord and Ny-Ålesund

Kongsfjord is the largest fjord in the Northwest coast of Spitsbergen. It is also known as King’s Bay. We will spend most of the day cruising into a large side fjord called Krossfjord. The landscape varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers tumbling into the ocean. The inner part of Krossfjord, Lilliehöökfjorden, is strikingly beautiful. Be sure to sight for the peak of Mitra – named for a ‘Mitre’ or a catholic bishop’s hat – located on the northern shore of the entrance to Kongsfjorden.

At the end of the fjord you will see the majestic Kongsbreen (King’s Glacier) with the three characteristic nunataks: Nora, Dana and Svea – named after the three Scandinavian countries. Later we dock at Ny-Ålesund. Situated at 78º 55’ N, this is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Previously a coal mining centre, it is now an advanced High Arctic research station. A number of countries run their own national research stations here, and the activity is particularly high in the summer.

Day 5
Photo: Camille Seaman Photo

Cruising into Isfjorden

Isfjorden and Longyearbyen

Located in central Spitsbergen, Isfjorden is the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. We will spend the morning sailing towards Longyearbyen. One of the most noticeable mountains in this area is Alkhornet, where thousands of brünnich’s guillemots nest during the summer season. As we sail into the outer parts of the fjord, the landscape changes. Marvel at the large U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago. After disembarkation in Longyearbyen you have the rest of the day at your disposal. Then there will be a farewell dinner in the hotel in the evening.

Day 6
Photo: Dominic Barrington Photo

Flying home from the Arctic


Your Spitsbergen adventure is over. After transfer to the airport, it's time for the flight back home.

Arrival May - September 2019

Location Longyearbyen

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Transfer airport to hotel in Longyearbyen
  • One hotel night in Longyearbyen before the voyage including breakfast:
  • 3 hours Sightseeing in Longyearbyen incl. Museum and Camp Barentz, ending at the pier
  • Transfer ship to hotel in Longyearbyen
  • One hotel night in Longyearbyen after the voyage incl. light lunch, dinner and early morning snack
  • Transfer hotel to airport in Longyearbyen
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore. All included
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition team that gives lectures on shore as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Free coffee and tea

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Gratuities
Your ship Things to see and do

Photo gallery: Spitsbergen

The Arctic Crown of Norway should be experienced first hand, but here's a glimpse of what you will experience on your cruise to Svalbard's largest island.

Extend your holiday

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